The right to self ID: A letter to Greg O’Connor MP

I just sent this to Greg O’Connor, MP for Ōhāriu, in support of the Right to Self ID campaign.

Kia ora Greg,

There will undoubtedly be constituents of yours writing to oppose the proposed amendments to the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Bill. I am writing to urge you not to listen to them.

There are dozens and dozens of policy-based reasons (see https://righttoselfid.nz) why allowing self-identification by statutory declaration is a good idea, and the same is true with the rest of the Select Committee’s recommendations. I am not an expert in policy, nor a trans person, so I can’t speak to either the aforementioned policy benefits of the amendments or the good it will do for trans and gender diverse people in Ōhāriu and Aotearoa.

But I can speak to my own experiences. I can speak to the joy in the eyes and on the faces of my trans friends when they can live their truth. I can speak to the way I’ve seen my trans friends’ hearts darken when there’s a barrier between who they are and how they’re seen. I can speak to the vile and horrifying hate I’ve seen spoken and acted upon in the name of opposition to the proposed amendments. I can speak to the online vitriol raised by those of the deepest prejudice within a vocal minority. I can speak to raise up the words of the trans people who’ve undoubtedly written to you and your colleagues, sharing their lives with you, telling you how the proposed amendments will make their lives better.

I can speak to the fact that it’s never good to be against the advancing of the rights of the marginalised.

I volunteered for your campaign in 2017 because I knew that you’d listen to the voices of those who wish to make Aotearoa a better place for everyone. I didn’t agree with everything you said you believed in, but I knew that you’d listen to and act on what mattered. Trans young people, including many of your constituents, face hurdle after unnecessary hurdle to be recognised by the law and our society. Please don’t let the hateful words of a vocal few keep those barriers in place.

Ngā mihi nui,

Jackson Lacy

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